Confessions of a Digital Nomad.

Right now, as I’m writing this post I am sitting in a coffee shop with at least four other people keyboarding furiously on their laptops. We are all here as part of a new generation of workers, we are the digital nomads.

No longer chained to a desk in order to be productive, we are able to work from virtually anywhere that has internet access. And even that is no longer a real requirement as most people with iPhones and Blackberries are now able to tether their mobile devices to their laptop and get online. Speaking of which, that is exactly how I spent a good half of my summer vacation last year in sunny Christina Lake, BC. Thanks to a sudden surge of inspiration and fresh air, I was able to complete a web project using iPhone tethering, somewhat to dismay of everyone else… but hey, you have to strike while the iron is hot!

Enough about that though… what does this mean in real world terms? Well it means the workforce of tomorrow is changing and even more accurately the way we spend our time is changing. If we dig down to marketing terms… it means that digital nomads of today and tomorrow will be harder to reach through traditional channels as we just don’t consume media that way anymore. As I look around, pretty much everyone has headphones in and are grooving to their own beat while typing up that report or preparing for a presentation.

One thing that is pretty consistent though is that almost everyone takes a few minutes to check e-mail and more interestingly their social media networks such as facebook and twitter.

Where is the opportunity then? I believe that in terms of digital marketing for this particular crowd outside of social media marketing, it will be in geo-targetted campaigns. If you look at foursquare for example, it allows users to check in at a physical location. As a user (or a savvy businessperson) you are able to leave a ‘tip‘ or a ‘to do‘ at, or close to, your location. I noticed a great example recently when I checked in at a downtown coffee shop. Immediately there was a pop-up prompting me to visit a nearby bakery as they always have delicious, fresh our of the oven buns and fruit filled pastries. Pretty smart marketing if you ask me… and if you did ask me, I wouldn’t be able to answer as I chowed down on some of the best pastries I’ve had in a while.

Google Buzz (if it ever takes off) does an interesting number on this topic as well. The way I look at it is a combination of communication channels, including geo-tagged services. So when you make a post, you have the option of geo-tagging the location as well.

As I just got a call from a real estate education representative… it gave me an idea of how to leverage geo-tagging and mobile services for some really cool real estate marketing… but you’ll have to wait for that post.

On that note, I figured it might be interesting to share my mobile setup.

On the iPhone: QuickOffice Connect – allows access to files on my Dropbox and Google Docs. I can edit, create, save and send almost any file on the go… anywhere!

Evernote – Really cool tool for capturing and storing ideas on the go. It collects photos, voice memos, text, video (on 3Gs) and god knows what else. The app syncs with a desktop application and the cloud as well.

iTalk – this is the best voice recorded I could find… and I tested quite a few. Perfect for recording sales calls, interviews and conferences. Also comes with a free desktop app.

Dropbox – Think of this as your virtual USB drive. It syncs a folder from your computer to an online storage facility, giving you the ability to access those files from anywhere, at any time. 2GB of storage with the free account.

And of course a selection of social media apps: Facebook, Twitteriffic, LinkedIn and foursquare at this time. Speaking of foursquare, I’m a mayor of four places so far!

On the MacBook: Dropbox – This app runs in the background and does a live sync between your DropBox folder and online storage. Best free gadget ever.

Evernote -This is a full featured desktop client for the service. You’re able to create new notebooks, organize random thoughts, e-mail them and overall, just be awesome.

Adium – It combines numerous chat clients into one, easy to use app. MSN, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, Google Talk, Facebook and pretty much anything else you can think of. It’s a great way to work quickly with a team, share ideas and files while away from the office.

TweetDeck – This is my preferred Twitter client. It allows you to receive feeds from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It also allows you to post to all three simultaneously. It’s a great micro-publishing platform and for the time being, I prefer it to Hootsuite.

Well there you have it. Some thoughts, some ideas and a full disclosure on my personal digital nomad setup. Use it wisely and check back often!



Ernest Barbaric is a professional keynote speaker and social media consultant. He helps clients engage customers, reach new markets, launch products and transition into digital marketing. Sounds interesting? Get in touch today.

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